Category archive - Staging Solutions

Bad Listing Photographs- Such a Shame

Bad Listing Photographs- Such a Shame

If you are searching for a new home now, you are probably looking at the usual sites such as,,, just to name a few. Hours are spend looking a pictures of listed homes, currently for sale. As I mentioned in my last blog, typically a buyer will spend 8 seconds or less on a photograph of an online listing. And with 90% of buyers searching online, those pictures are important!

This blog is about bad photography. Sorry someone has to do it. It really does amaze me that a Realtor would post pictures as such, let alone their home seller allow it!! Like I said bad photographs are such a shame. Here are some examples from the area that I live in Orange County, NY.

too dark out of focus


This photo obviously is too dark, out of focus and really…too much clutter. Bad photo, such a shame. Kitchens make up 30% of a buyers decision– 1/3 of the decision based on one room, pretty big chunk of real estate weighing on one room. Why would you not want this room of all the rooms in the house to look the best it can in the buyers eyes?

Aside from too dark photographs it is nice to set a stage for the buyer, so they can see themselves in the room.

one purpose room

Is this suppose to be a master bedroom retreat where someone would like to go to relax, get away from the stress of everyday life? Or is it an exercise room? This image is telling me there is not enough space in the house and so it all ends up in the master. Not relaxing, not inviting, not what buyers are looking for in a new home. Bad photograph, such a shame.

The lighting is important in pictures, as by example of these two photographs. Also styling the photograph and paying attention to the little details can make such a difference. I wonder looking at these two photos what else has not been taken care of in the home. When was the last time anything was fixed or repaired that needed attention?? Just saying, bad photographs speak more to buyers than most sellers realize.

If on your house hunting you come across a bad photograph, please share with me!


A Picture is Worth- What?

A Picture is Worth- What?

Did you know that adding one photo to a residential real estate listing increases the final sale price by up to 3.9% according to The Wall Street Journal article January 11, 2013. Interior photos are more effective than exterior shots although exterior shots help. They estimated that each photo adds about $150 to $200 to the final sale price.

In today’s selling market 90% of buyers are searching on line for their next home. You have 8 seconds to make an impression– not long, so imagine if the photo of your house looked like this



Both make an impression, but when selling a home you want to make the best positive impression you can. You want that buyer to take a second look, by coming to your house and viewing to see how beautiful your home really is.

In April I will be blogging on photography and what is key to grab the potential buyer. A professional agent should have the property styled and photographed- by that I mean not your cell phone shots that are blurred like…

out of focusOf course photographers charge for taking photos, just as a lawyer would charge for their services. When you are hiring a professional to help accomplish a goal, you are seeking their talent that you do not embrace yourself.  Understand that the photographs taken can affect the sale price and speed, which your house might sell; it is worth the investment. A good interior photographer will capture the architectural details that sell the home, and make that home resonate with buyers.

Stay posted to read up on tips and ideas for great photos that will help position your home to sell. You want the web seeker looking for a home to linger and take a second look.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, or even dollars when selling a home. If you are selling make sure your pictures are the best they can be.

Advantage of Home Staging

Advantage of Home Staging

Staging and Redesign created an info-graph showing home sellers the monetary advantage of staging a home prior to selling. It shows that IF a seller stages their home before they list it to sell, they will be reducing the time that the house is on the market. By reducing the time on the market the seller ends up saving money and actually making more money by staging first.

Take a lookReal cost of home staging


Not only are there reoccurring carrying costs (heat, electric, water, taxes, mortgage etc) that the seller continues to pay, but a house looses momentum and interest to buyers every month it is on the market. To entice buyers to become interested in a home that has not sold in over 90 days an Agent will suggest a price reduction to energize the listing again.

The cost of staging a home can run from 1% to 3% of the listing price of the home, depending on the condition of the home. On average a seller will see a 6% to 10% return on that investment. Staging will cost less than the first markdown you need to take on your home. 

Take a look for yourself, try out the Home Staging Saving Calculator plug in your numbers and see the difference of not staging a house, vs. having it staged first.


Design Solutions staged homes have averaged 52 days on the market. Staging works and saves sellers money. If you are thinking of putting your home on the market call Design Solutions first. It will save you money and will help you get your home sold!

Still not sure read this article Should I Stage My Home

Seeing Red????

Seeing Red????

Red is a color that can imply love, happiness, passion.  But then can also suggest anger or be considered aggressive. Red is a color that can be added to room as an accent and it will draw attention to other things you may not have noticed. It can take a room from being drab to fabulous, if done in the right hue and not overdone so it is all you see in the room.

many shades of red

Many homeowners like to use red on walls. Red is a very agressive color and personal taste. Red can make a room feel more intimate, but the buyer coming to view the house will either love or hate, you have a 50/50 chance of pleasing them, consider carefully when when choosing red. By pairing the red with neutral colors it becomes quite striking.

red hall

Red is a color that needs to be well thought out and the shade of red needs to be considered.  Bluish reds can be festive and look nice in dining and living rooms. The more orange a red is the more vibrant, so those are good to keep out of room you want to feel more tranquil like a bedroom.

romantic bedrroom

I find that using red as an accent vs. a wall color can help define a space without overwhelming it. I had a client that was adverse to using color at all in her black and gray family room. I could understand what she was hoping to achieve, but unfortunately it was coming off too drab. I took one of her favorite pictures in the room which happened to have red and orange accents and created a new look that made the room feel warmer and not as impersonal. The added accessories gave the room warmth and cohesionEnough to make the eye travel through the room, but not too much so that all you saw was the color red!

light coming in

Make sure if you are going to paint red on walls, get a tinted primer preferably green or gray, if not, your red will change to a brighter shade and less desirable results. Make sure you use high quality paint so you get the true red you are after.

Using red can really add drama to any room, if you are feeling brave give it a try…you will be pleasantly surprised. Share your spaces that you have used red and love it!

Fireplace – Brings Warmth and Value to a Home

Fireplace – Brings Warmth and Value to a Home

Here in the East we have been experience the cold winter, and if you are like me the best place to be is near the fire! The nice dry heat that comes from the fire is so comforting.

A fireplace definitely adds value to a home, and is a very desirable feature to many home buyers. In most rooms it is the focal point, the place where people are drawn to.

Take a look at your fireplace, is it time for an update?  When we purchased our home we had two fireplaces- one in the kitchen and one in the living room VERY big plus, but both were outdated. Our living room had old painted white brick surround that did not do much for the room. The kitchen had fake rock which was quite outdated.fireplace 3 My husband created raised panels to cover the painted brick, and a marble surround to finish the fireplace. Due to our house being a traditional colonial, we kept the look of the fireplace coinciding with the style of the home.

In the kitchen we needed to update the stone, which we chose granite, and because we wanted heat more than decoration we added the wood stove. Although an open fireplace creates wonderful ambiance, our wood stove does a fabulous job of keeping us toasty. It’s a great place to warm up on a cold windy day!

If you are considering updating your fire place or just adding some charm, think what conveys a warm feeling. This little reading nook next to the fireplace is the perfect spot to curl up and read a great book.cozy fireplace

Center your seating around a big fireplace so everyone can sit back and enjoy.fireplace

For a more modern look, or for those that do not have a flue to vent a wood burning fireplace a nice alternative are gas fireplaces. They put out the BTU’s and are very attractive.gas fireplace


So…if you are stuck inside trying to fight off those winter blues, cozy up next to a warm fire and relax, spring is right around the corner!

Apartment Staging- ASAP!

Apartment Staging- ASAP!

I’m driving down the thruway getting my daughter back to college and my phone rings. “Hello, I need to attract renters to my apartment complex and need a vacant one staged.” Easy, apartment staging I think.  “…I do not want to a lot spend money, but it has to be desirable to the masses, the look upscale and completed before we close the pool area which is in a few days.”

Wow, this will be a challenge! After getting my daughter situated, I headed home to my office to realize that I had really only two days to pull this all off because I was booked the following week. Thinking outside the normal ways I approach a project I got into action. A few days later the vacant apartment was staged and here are the results- the best part is that the complex now has 100% occupancy, and we managed to stage the pool too before it closed for the season!







Apartment staging ASAP no problem! Only results that satisfy.


Here are a few more pictures of the results

staged living room







Living area before staging and after, creates a warm inviting feeling to the room.

vacant kitchenstaged kitchen







Vacant Kitchen before….. transformed to a warm area to entertain.

And a bedroom staged to feel like a cozy retreat at the end of a long day….                                                                                      


Staging Your Home With Color

Staging Your Home With Color

When getting your home ready for the market light, clean, organized spaces appear larger. I have always said “a fresh coat of paint is one of the best investments you can put into your home prior to selling.” Maximize your rooms with complementary neutral colors; the buyer will be able to see their self living in the space a lot easier, verses seeing how you lived in the house.

bath painted with neutral colorsHere is an example of a bathroom I staged recently; we toned down the color just a bit with a grey/blue color that was pulled from the tiles. It gave the room an updated, more open cohesive look. Although there is “color” on the walls it is not what you see in the room, you see the features of the room.

When choosing color remember there are many neutral colors besides white that will give you a hint of color but play off the walls and make a room look warm and inviting think of grays, soft yellows, beige with a hint of cream in it, calming blues, or subtle greens. They will make the room feel warm and inviting. Here are some colors from the Benjamin Moore palette that you could try on your walls.BMoore neutral colors

  It is best to tone down the bold or dark colors, like reds and bright shocking colors when selling your home. These can contribute to the ambiance of a room if used appropriately, but typically they do not convey the open feel you are hoping to achieve. The accessories in the room can be used to play up pops of color if needed. Paint the moldings the same color as the walls which will give the illusion of a larger space. This way you are not redecorating the entire room, just updating and neutralizing it.

Bright, light neutral color rooms are what sell. If you are having a tough time, give Design Solutions a call to help you get your house in tip top selling condition.





Update Rooms with Color

Update Rooms with Color

Fall great time to update a room. But where do you start? I have decided September to be the month to blog about how to re-think a room and how to develop a color pallet in a room. Colors have an impact on us, they can’t necessarily be felt but they can change the way we feel. The visual clues define a space and speak to us creating a mood of the room. Each season paint companies develop pallets that work with home fashions and textiles to create a mood, update a room and bring freshness to our spaces we live in.

wyeth blueYou may say, my wall paper I hung in 2001 is great, it might be…but it may also be outdated and dark. Think of it this way, you purchase one or two new items of clothing each season, right? You have to admit you love something new to wear.  Updating a room can be looked at as a gift to yourself by refreshing the old, bringing new light in your space. You feel better about the space because it feels new. This year’s color pick by Benjamin Moore is Wythe Blue; it is such a classic- not over powering and actually a calming neutral. Blue isn’t you? There are so many other pallets to work from, so where do you begin…


pop of orange


What are the color trends this season? The combination of neutrals such as light grey to something darker like charcoal, browns like mocha and cinnamon, creams and whites then mixed with bright pops of honey gold, rich blue, bright orange, and even pink “the colors of causes” brighten up rooms and spaces. The balance between the neutral and pops of colors are important to create the character you are looking for.


So how do you begin? Follow along this month and I will help you define the ambiance and colors needed to create and update your room!

Target Your Market-Get Your House Sold!

Target Your Market-Get Your House Sold!

If you have ever been involved in selling something for a business, purchased an item from a store, or watched TV and seen commercials, these companies target their market by implementing the 4P’s of marketing Price, Place, Product and Promotion to sell that item. This is pretty basic right? Not always….

4 p marketing

Apply this to when a home owner puts their house on the market; they trust their agent is going to do everything to get it sold. This is where the ball can drop.

Let’s say you plan to sell your house, your agent brings you comparable’s of houses that have recently sold. This is a great place to start with the right Price.

Then you look at Place, where your house is situated is it in a neighborhood, desirable town etc. the place can affect the price.

The Product is the house, new, old, has it been updated, what features does your house have that buyers desire in your market. Again, product can reflect back on the Price.

Last is Promotion this not only includes MLS, advertising, open houses it includes the presentation of the home, the packaging of the house so to say. If the presentation does not interest your buyer, you have missed that target market. Think of this, if you had $xxx to spend on anything, where are you going to spend your money? Typically on the product that communicates value – the best item available at the best price.

How can a house speak value to a buyer? Presentation-by making sure that the house is updated, furnishings convey what a buyer desires, emotional points that make that house sing to a buyers mind “I want this one.” Hiring a professional stager  will assist you to concentrate on what buyers want to make your house stand out above the competition. If you can implement the promotional part completely and thoroughly, convey the value your house has; you will find a target buyer that can’t wait to buy your home at a desirable price to both of you!


Staging, Why Bother, Who Needs It?

Staging, Why Bother, Who Needs It?

The other day, a good friend that is a RE Agent, asked me to stop by her open house. The house had great charm, obviously recently redone siding, great curb appeal and the photo’s on line looked pretty good. She was excited by my comments and asked me to take a tour.

The décor expressed the sellers taste. The kitchen had a sunken and cracked floor, but the seller was willing to throw in an architectural plan to fix it. The colors throughout were bold. The pet beds looked neat and clean as did the giant lizard cage in the upstairs bedroom.


Who needs staging? A homeowner that is putting their house on the market and is not aware of any problems that might cause a buyer to walk away. Some Realtors do not feel comfortable to tell their sellers there are issues that need to be addressed. An Agent likes to keep their clients happy and not rock the boat – so to say. To address anything that might cause an upset is something best to be avoided. No one likes conflict, and there should not be any when selling a home. So how is a seller suppose to know all the concerns that might lose a potential buyer?  Hire a professional Stager, make them your partner.


A professional Stager will evaluate the your house keeping in mind not necessarily how the seller believes their house should look and be marketed, but what buyers want, are looking for, and love. Many RE agents operate in the belief that it is too costly to suggest staging, but in reality it will cost less than the first mark down the seller will need in order to keep interest in their home. Why take a chance to lose a potential sale ever? Every buyer that walks through a home should feel that they could live there. That is why you need to bother to have your listing staged.

 First Impressions, are Lasting Impressions